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The OWSD - Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World

The Call for Applications for the 2021 Awards is now closed


This information is also available in:       French          Spanish

Launched in 2013, the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists reward and encourage women working and living in developing countries who are in the early stages of their scientific careers, having often overcome great challenges to achieve research excellence. Awardees must have made a demonstrable impact on the research environment, both at a regional and international level, and must have received their PhD in the last ten years.

The awards programme grew out of a one-time award given in 2011 by OWSD, the Elsevier Foundation and TWAS, the World Academy of Sciences, which was given to 11 early career women from developing countries working in STEM subjects.  In 2013, the current awards programme was launched, with the number of awards reduced to 5 per year (one from each OWSD region plus one additional outstanding candidate) on a three-year rotation of award categories, in order to provide more focus and visibility. The eligible scientific disciplines for each year were organized into general fields:

  • Biological sciences: agriculture, biology and medicine - 2019 Awards (selected in 2018)
  • Engineering, innovation & technology - 2020 Awards (selected in 2019)
  • Physical sciences: chemistry, mathematics and physics - 2021 Awards (selected in 2020)

Each winner receives a cash prize of USD 5,000 and is sponsored to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held every year in February*. The winners are presented their awards at a special networking ceremony, and have the possibility to attend workshops and sessions at the AAAS meeting, visit local laboratories and institutions, and attend a celebratory dinner organized by the Elsevier Foundation. The meeting is an important opportunity to establish contacts and collaboration networks with colleagues from different parts of the world.

*The 2021 AAAS annual meeting will be held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An alternative venue or possible online event will be proposed at a later date.

The OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards have an important impact on local research cultures. Previous winners say the awards have had a powerful effect, enhancing the visibility of their past work and creating new opportunities for the future. The awardees are also powerful role models for young women in science.

Because of this Award and the international recognition, I am more confident, accountable and motivated to continue my research activities in order to achieve my goals. It will inspire many younger ladies in this region to achieve more in the advancement of sciences.   Dr. Tista Prasai Joshi (Nepal) - 2019 awardee.

Find a list of all previous awardees here.

The call opens each year in June and closes end of August.


OWSD Secretariat

Phone: +39 040 2240530  

2020 Awards - Seattle, Washington



2019 Awards -  Washington, D.C.






















2018 Awards -  Austin, Texas



2017 Awards -  Boston, Massachusetts



2016 Awards - Washington , D.C.



2015 Awards - San Jose, California



2014 Awards - Chicago, Illinois



2013 Awards - Boston, Massachusetts



2011 Awards - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



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